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How to keep an electric car's brakes in shape

Petrol-powered and electric cars are very different from one another, and each requires a different set of components. This applies not only to the power unit, but also the brakes. LIQUI MOLY has developed brake fluid designed specifically for the electric car, and there are several reasons for this.

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Formula 1 and Formula E are all about speed and reliability. The latter factor is important both in motorsport and in everyday motoring. To keep a car as reliable as possible, it is vital to maintain it properly. LIQUI MOLY is happy to help you with this. The German oil specialist supplies not only motor oil but also other car products, such as the DOT 5.1 EV brake fluid.

This brake fluid is specially developed for the electric car. As with a car powered by an internal combustion engine, the brake fluid also needs to be changed every two years in an electric car.

"But that's about it for the similarities, because the requirement profile of the electric vehicles is sometimes completely different," says David Kaiser, who heads up the Research & Development department at LIQUI MOLY. That's why the vehicle chemical specialist has developed DOT 5.1 EV brake fluid. EV stands for Electric Vehicle.

There are many reasons why brake systems are more demanding for vehicles that are partly or even purely electrically powered. "One is corrosion protection," says Kaiser. "Because the electric motor also acts as a brake and uses it to generate energy for the battery, the mechanical brake system is used less frequently. This leads to spot corrosion." Special additives counteract this effect.

"However, this does not mean that a brake system in an electric vehicle does only a little work," says Kaiser. "These vehicles are generally heavier than vehicles that are powered by an internal combustion engine and rapidly reach high speeds from which they also have to be braked abruptly in the event of danger. As a result, the brakes quickly become very hot. Brake fluids such as our DOT 5.1 EV have to be effective even when the brake system is hot, and therefore require a high dry and high wet boiling point."

Property number three is the lowest possible electrical conductivity. This plays a role if an electrical system is installed near the brake system and is not sufficiently shielded. As with the wireless, inductive charging of an electric toothbrush or mobile phone, electrical voltages can then be induced in the brake system, which can decompose the brake fluid or promote corrosion.

The fourth property of interest is viscosity. "As with motor oil, the flow behaviour is decisive for the performance of the fluid. The lower the viscosity, the faster the engine is fully oiled. A low-viscosity brake fluid transmits the braking pulses in the system more quickly, the electronic driver assistance systems such as ABS or ESC function better and respond even more sensitively," Kaiser points out.

The same applies to brake fluids as to motor oils: Only use what should be used. Approvals and specifications are the measure of all things.

  • Excellent elastomer compatibility
  • Excellent low temperature behaviour
  • Extremely high wet and dry boiling points
  • Outstanding protection against the formation of steam bubbles
  • Assures a high degree of lubricating action on all moving components in the hydraulic brake circuit
  • High thermal stability
  • Excellent viscosity/temperature properties
  • Low electrical conductivity

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